Monday, 13 July 2020 08:40

Former Speaker reiterates need for legal teeth for election-related COVID-19 regulations

Chairman of the Constitutional Council and former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday called on the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to issue the Gazette notification giving legal validity to the health guidelines for the General Election, due to widespread flouting of the COVID-19 safety measures by politicians and their supporters.

“During the last few weeks, it was observed that many politicians, unduly and hazardously manipulating the lack of legal protection to health guidelines, organised and participated in political rallies that clearly violated them. Such irresponsible behaviour on the part of politicians allows the dedication and sacrifice of health and security officers go down the drain. Those politicians make a mockery out of the selfless service of over three months by those officers,” Jayasuriya said in a statement.

While reiterating that people must ensure their own safety first and foremost, the former Speaker said he expects the DGHS to issue the Gazette notification giving legal validity to the health guidelines and also requested the relevant officials and political leadership to provide legal teeth to the health guidelines so that the people will be saved from the threat of an outbreak of the pandemic.

Jayasuriya said that it is saddening that the issue of the Gazette containing the guidelines has been delayed and that, in its absence, public officials and law enforcement officers have no power to ensure that the said guidelines are followed and implemented.

“As of now, the Prime Minister has made a request to follow health guidelines duly. In a highly competitive environment such as political campaigns, requests that have no legal binding can generate only modest outcomes, at best,” he noted.

(FT)

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